Performance addicts in pursuit of ever-faster rides may feel like forgetting the all-wood coaster category. After all, just as a skyscraper's steel skeleton permits it to grow exponentially larger than wood-framed buildings, so too can steel roller coasters deliver the last word on performance, delivering longer, steeper drops and higher speeds than their all-wood brethren.
But for those roller coaster addicts who crave that creaking, rickety feel, there's no substitute for an all-wood coaster. As a consequence, theme parks continue to build new all-wood coasters to keep these dedicated "woodie" fans coming back.
If the sensation of freefall is your favorite thrill, then you'll want to consider these coaster categories:
The longest drop you'll find in an all wood coaster is at Cedar Point, in Sandusky, Ohio. There, the Mean Streak dominates the skyline with a scream-inducing 155-foot drop. Adding to its appeal, the Mean Streak is one of the fastest wood coasters in the country, and has one of the longest circuits.
The tallest wood coaster remains the Rattler, located at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio. This all-wood monster, which towers some 179 feet off the ground, continues to attract coaster fanatics from all over the country.
As for the steepest drop in the all-wood category, it's still Coney Island's grand dame, the Cyclone. This 77-year-old coaster is as spry and speedy as it was the day it was built.
For a view of the best of the best in the all-wood category, the World of Coasters Web site features one of the most complete indices of coasters, pictures, and reviews on the Web.
New wood may be good. But those craving that turn-of-the-century flavor should seek out these old all-wood rides.
To ride the oldest standing and operating coaster in the world, book a ticket to Copenhagen, Denmark, where Tivoli Gardens hosts the dread Rutschebanen, a coaster which dates back to 1917.
Only two years younger, the Jack Rabbit, at Clementon Amusement Park in Clementon, New Jersey, is the oldest in the U.S.
Coming in third and fourth place are two other Jack Rabbits, at Kennywood Park in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, and at Seabreeze Park, in Rochester, New York.
For information on any of the coasters mentioned here, or their respective theme parks, visit our searchable index of roller coasters all over the globe, the Find a Ride feature, provided courtesy of Coaster.net.
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Written by Sean Wolfe.
Roller coaster statistical information provided by World of Coasters.